“hope is never lost”

I know it’s all you’ve got to just, be strong
And it’s a fight just to keep it together, together
I know you think, that you are too far gone
But hope is never lost…
Just remember that you’re a fighter, a fighter
You never know just what tomorrow holds
And you’re stronger than you know…
Hold on, don’t let go…
Just take, one step, closer
Put one foot in front of the other
You’ll, get through this
Just follow the light in the darkness
You’re gonna be ok
And when the night, is closing in
Don’t give up, and don’t give in
This won’t last, it’s not the end, it’s not the end
You’re gonna be ok
Brian and Jenn Johnson – You’re Gonna Be Ok

I know that I haven’t been faithful about writing, but I needed a little bit of break. I needed to spend some extra time with God, and figure some things out.

But, today, I just want to say, whatever you’re going through… GOD IS FAITHFUL. I found out that I had a lot of medical conditions … slowly. For a time, I was essentially slowly wasting away, and I was losing weight and sleeping all the time to the point where my family and I wondered if I would live to be 18 (I was 16 and 17 around the time). I didn’t respond well at all, which ended up causing depression and a worsening of my already present anxiety.

But God was faithful. He was there every step of the way, bringing me to the right doctors, even if it took several to receive the full list of diagnoses. Recently, I swam 72 consecutive laps before being too tired to continue (66 is a mile). I cannot explain the feelings of joy and thankfulness that I felt when I finished lap 66. When I first got really sick a few years ago, I never would’ve imagined being able to swim a mile – I just wanted to get through practices without having to skip laps. I am doing better, and I am going to be ok, medically.

Psychologically, I am still pushing through. And I love the song I shared, because it reminds me how I got this far medically – one step at a time. It also reminds me that God will be faithful to me in my psychological struggles as well. Even if it isn’t healing to the point where I am totally “normal” (whatever that’s supposed to mean), I am trusting Him to heal me to the point where I can honestly say that I am ok. There have been several times that I wanted to give up everything. It’s been a long road. And it isn’t over. But I will fight to live for Him with every breath I have left, because He has redeemed me spiritually and restored my health.

Just wanted to give a quick shout-out to a few people. To my freshman year roommate, thanks for giving me the strength to fight until I found the strength I needed in Christ. You have truly changed my life and I will be forever grateful of your willingness to tell what I needed to hear, if I really didn’t want to hear it. To my friends in InterVarsity and the small group Bible studies, thanks for the support and prayers and love. To my friend who I have known since we were, what, like 7?, thanks for our walks and card-making sessions. To my friends at AWANA, I am sorry that it took me so long to be honest about what I was dealing with. Thanks for your patience, love, and prayers. To my family and other friends – even if you didn’t think you did anything, you probably did. Just smiling or sending me a card on my birthday or anything like that makes me a little happier and gave me a reason to fight when I was still searching for my purpose in Christ. I love you all.

And to God, I will be forever indebted to You for your grace and love. Your blessings to me are more than words can describe. I will be forever grateful of your healing and grace and love and patience and… and everything else.

 

To anyone who’s struggling out there – it might seem impossible right now. Keep searching for a glimmer of light in the dark places. Keep fighting, and keep trusting the Lord to be faithful. He will never let you go.

You are so much stronger than you know. Anyone with an invisible chronic illness or psychological disorder knows that it’s hard being called lazy or a health freak or whatever because people don’t realize you’re not ok. But you are stronger than you know, because they don’t see how hard you fought to get out of bed and take a shower and brush your hair and brush your teeth and go to class or work or wherever you needed to be on time. And hopefully, one day, you won’t have to fight so hard. But even if you do, God will be faithful through it all. And if your struggles aren’t invisible, then you are facing different struggles that the rest of us cannot begin to understand. We don’t know how much strength it takes for you to fight each of your battles.

I heard this on the radio yesterday, and I decided to share it. You can’t compare your situation to that of someone else, because you might be in different seasons. You might be in winter and see them enjoying summer, but you weren’t there to see them go through fall and winter and spring to get to summer. Keep holding on, because your summer is coming, just at different time for you than it did for them.

Keep fighting, one step at a time. You’re gonna be ok.

getting that initial diagnosis: some days it will be hard and that is ok

A little about me… I am a college student with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, hypocholesterolemia, and some other medical stuff. Getting that first diagnosis is hard.

Getting that diagnosis is confusing. It made me wonder what the rest of my life would be like. I wondered how much it would affect me every day until the day I would die. I wondered how long I would live, and I caught myself googling the name of each diagnosis followed by life expectancy. I started reading other people’s stories and life hacks for managing these diagnoses. I read about all the diagnoses and the vitamins and supplements I was given.

Adjusting is also really hard, but I think the hardest part is managing all the emotions that come up. Confusion. Anger. Frustration. Fear. And then all the questions too: How do I deal with this? Why does my doctor seem to be so confused by these lab results? Which doctor do I go to next? Why did all those other doctors not understand this? Why did no one pick up on this when I was 11 and was tested for this then? Why me? Why now? Why can’t I do this the way I used to be able to?

Getting that initial diagnosis is hard, and it can be really confusing, especially when you know there is a missing piece that doctors do not understand. It is frustrating when you have to wake up at 6 to get up by 8. It is frustrating when you cannot play the piano on some days because your hands are too shaky. It is frustrating when you have to take breaks in sports practice and eat a ton of food – just to prevent passing out. And it might get better, but it might not. It might get better, but it might be hard every day, for the rest of your life. If you were looking for false hope, I am not giving it here. It’s pointless. It might not get better. But that’s ok. You might not be able to do things the same way, and maybe there will be missed opportunities. But that is ok.

We who have chronic illnesses have something that others do not. We can relate to each other. I have really strong bonds with others that have chronic illnesses, because we understand what it’s like to have to miss a class because of having a rough day and not being able to get out of bed until later. We also have beautiful stories. I could tell you about 400 different times that God spoke to me through the autoimmune disease and the other things. God works through us in unique and different ways. Our pain can be beautiful. Our testimony can lead others to Christ. Our weakness can show the strength of Christ within us.

So, to anyone who just got a scary diagnosis, it is going to be hard. You have a long journey ahead. But Christ gives strength! Trust Him, for He is painting a beautiful story that includes your pain and your weakness.